Such “extraordinary measures,” as they’re known, for maneuvering around the debt ceiling have been frequently employed over the decades, and by now, Treasury officials can guess how long they’ll last. Eventually, however, all the options will be used up, and Mnuchin will have only incoming tax revenues with which to pay incoming bills. And at some point, the government will face the risk of being unable to pay all bills in full and on time, a prospect that would likely cause panic in financial markets.
At that point, Republicans who worry about the debt could force the party to confront Trump. Congressional Republican leadership will have to make the same kinds of difficult coalition-management choices that eventually led to the ouster of former House Speaker John Boehner.
For now, that reckoning is in abeyance.